Jefferson descendants open program series
It will be a conversation of black and white between black and white.
Baker University's Artist and Lecture Series will feature a presentation by two of Thomas Jefferson's descendants, one black and one white, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Rice Auditorium.
Julia Jefferson and Shay Banks-Young will present "The Affairs of Race in America: The Conversation in Black and White," a discussion of the state of civil rights in the United States today.
The discussion is also part of Baker's Fall Convocation week-long celebration of the civil rights movement.
"This may be a kind of interesting event for people to go to," said series chair Susan Buehler. "This is something out of the ordinary. They've not seen these two gals and not heard this type of discussion before."
Buehler said the two women, who found out their families were both descendants of Thomas Jefferson through DNA testing, will address past civil rights issues as well as positive aspects that came from black and white relationships.
Banks-Young, who is a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson's slave, Sally Hemings, and Julia Jefferson will also discuss their thoughts on DNA testing and the discovery their families made from it, Buehler said.
"It's remarkable they found out they were related," she said. "This is not something that just happened last week, this is a result of something that happened hundreds of years ago.
"I'm really looking forward to it," she said. "They are both really charming ladies, just delightful women."
Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for youth. They can be purchased at the Baker University business office, Baldwin State Bank, Mid-America Bank and Kansas State Bank. Tickets are also available at the box office one hour before the discussion.